Hiring a professional home inspector should not really be seen as an option. It’s simply a bare necessity if you want to save yourself loads of time, money and heartache on the back end.

A home inspector will often notice flaws or imperfections that you are very likely to miss yourself. He or she conducts a walk-through of the property to assess the physical, mechanical, structural, and cosmetic condition of the house. In a home inspection report you will find the things that need to be replaced, serviced or repaired. With this report in hand, you will now have a powerful negotiating weapon to either reduce the purchase price of the property or have necessary work done at the expense of the seller.

Just as was the case with hiring a lawyer, your real estate agent will be able to refer you to a professional home inspector. He or she should hold a state-sanctioned inspector’s certification, carry insurance, and be a member of the National Association of Home Inspectors.

Here are eight commonly asked questions about inspections:

  • When does a home inspection take place? The inspection occurs during the ‘due diligence’ period, which is after an offer has been accepted. Buyers typically have between seven to fourteen days to get an inspection done.
  • How much does it cost? A home inspection costs between $300 and $600.
  • How long does an inspection take? It can take anywhere between two and five hours, depending on the size of the property.
  • Do I need to attend the inspection? It is not mandatory. However, being there will help you ensure that the inspection is done up to your expectations, and you can pose any questions you may have to the inspector.
  • What happens if the home fails inspection? This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker. It’s standard practice to request that the seller address anything that did not pass the inspection.
  • Why would a buyer want to skip a home inspection? Buyers will sometimes be overconfident about being able to assess a house without professional help. Another reason is that they don’t want to pay for the extra expense. But in my opinion, it is a small price to pay, for peace of mind.
  • What if other buyers who make an offer waive the inspection contingency? If you feel that asking for repairs will weaken your position with a seller who has multiple offers on the table, then bring a licensed contractor or handyman with you on a follow-up visit to check the home out prior to writing an offer. This should only be done for special circumstances when there is stiff competition!
  • Is an inspection the only way I can get history about a house? No, it’s not. Ask your real estate agent for a full list of disclosures available on the home.

House inspections are so important that I dedicated an entire chapter to them in my book. Pass on a house inspection at your own peril!

This was the eighth article based on my book Keep Calm…It’s just Real Estate. Stay tuned for more great tips from the eCommission team and myself!

Do you have any tried-and-true tips on house inspections you regularly share with your clients? Let eCommission know in a comment, on Facebook or on Twitter.

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